PHOTO: This is my pretty, wide-eyed, bushy tailed daschund mix Penny. Pieces of noodles are on her ears. She shakes it off and she gets her treat.

Yes, empathy for my dog had a high price.

My pet had no appetite, was vomiting, had a bad digestive system and lethargic. I’m in a state of panic, it’s an emergency. It’s urgent. My primary veterinarian is booked on appointments for the next two weeks and does not offer urgent care. I called all 3 to 4 veterinary services in my area of Ventura County, SoCAL but it’s the same thing. During this process I was advised to go to an urgent care pet facility in Agoura Hills, CA. It’s called Oaks Veterinary Urgent Care (OVUC). As I drive to the parking lot, the building structure is new, nice paint and looks expensive. It’s a stand alone building not being shared by other businesses. I’m thinking, it’s okay my dog will get great care (not just good care). I got to the clinic at 7:30pm on September 17 and my dog died at 4:00am on September 18, 2021.

One Yelp! feedback says that the ambience of the facility hospital is like a spa. So, my imagination starts to think about spa places & treatments that I’m familiar with and also, they are not low cost.  Sea Weed body treatment, Hot Stones treatment, Salt Scrub etc.

Due to Covid we cannot go in the building. Only a tech/aide can take your dog and bring your pet in. There were 4 cars in the parking lot.. I was not comfortable with the situation of not being there with my dog in the treatment room. I’m nervously wondering.

  1. Is Penny being attended to right away by a tech/aide?
  2. Is the veterinarian stepping up now and showing care?
  3. Is the veterinarian checking her vitals?
    1. What’s her pulse?
    1. What’s her respiration rate? Her breathing?
    1. What is her temperature? Fever?  

I just trusted the veterinarian, found out later she is Dr. R.W. and hope she’d do her best, to do no harm, give my pet care and compassion and relative to make me feel comfort and at ease.

Unfortunately, she gave the Least care or No Care for my dog. I wonder if – did she making these choices based on a: 

  1. It’s on a first come basis, first serve basis?
  2. It’s based on the severity of the condition? or
  3. It’s the one that can fill the bank account?

Tech #1 brought my dog in the hospital and gave me a form to fill. She came back and said that vet gave her an anti-vomit solution through the mouth and told me my pet vomited it out. Well, she wasn’t vomiting at that time so why give her the solution? Her stomach needs to be soothed. From my research she could have given her an appetite stimulant.

Tech #1 walked to my car and gave an estimate of $1,000. Also, I was waiting for her to tell me the results of the vitals of the office visit. She did not say a word. What was her pulse rate? what about breathing analysis? Nothing. No information. I was sick to my stomach. It made me so scared visualizing that my pet‘s just laying on a cold table. Where is the empathy for the dog? Treat her and call me and explain. Nothing.

I told Tech #1 that I was not ready to pay this much money. She went back and then Tech #2 came out with another piece of paper, another estimate of $500. Then, the situation just went to hell. So, during this transactions between me and Dr. R.W. through a tech/aide she had not done anything for my dog as I was in competition with the other 4 pet owners in the parking lot. My car was the 3rd in the lot. A car pulled in – a new arrival, and so we’re total of 5 cars. This vet had no empathy for my sick dog but made her choice on who could pay the most … because my counteroffer was to give me a discount.

I just wanted information, please Dr. R.W., please look at my dog, check her vitals, everything that is included in an office visit and talk to me.  The answer was SILENCE. Even the attendants could not give me any information. How frustrating is that ???

As I mentioned I am in competition with the other pet owners in the parking lot.  I notice techs and aides going back and forth talking to the other owners, handing paperwork and medications. Also, giving back their dogs in blankets that have been already treated. Eventually, I was last to leave from that place with my pet worse than when I brought in.

3 hours I was at the parking lot waiting. I went in to used the bathroom and saw the first tech. I asked how it’s going and she dare say, we are really busy right now? Whaaaaaaaaaatt? Oh yeah! With someone else’s pet, possibly the one that just arrived. Oh God, Almighty!

Here is a checklist of what should happen on an urgent care situation along with the corresponding action – the silence I received.

The Lifetime Vet Clinic website shows the Treatments an Office Visit: For an Unwell or Injury Exam

  1. Vet Discussion of symptoms at homeNone (only on form presented.)
  2. Vital Signs taken by Vet AssistantNone. Silence.


*Heart Rate

*Respiratory Rate

*Mucus Membrane Colour –

     3- Presented with Treatment Plan – Oh yeah, the 2 estimates of  $1000 and $500.

I can say I knew more about #3, the cost estimate of the treatment. It was definitely organized and printed out well that the cost was even highlighted in light blue at the very center of the page.

No more discounts so, then Dr. R.W. calls me on the phone (the first time I heard from her) that my dog was going to be sent home to me with some meds.

We left the place around 11:30pm and after 5 hours my beautiful Penny-girl died at only 11 years of age. If only … If only … If only – I took her to a different veterinary urgent care place …

I am glad that the pets that were treated at Oaks Veterinary Urgent Care survived and thrived. But the empathy for my dog had a high price.

In these times of Covid, a majority are dependent on unemployment, stimulus packages, sickness, loss of loved ones, etc. The bottom line is that most want their pets to be treated with urgency and empathy whether unemployed or not employed; when there is worry about the next meal; when faced with evictions and when just short of cash and savings are depleted.

Hope that all your pets be given compassion or empathy by a veterinarian regardless of the cost of treatment. Show fairness, kindness, and loving care for animals. That veterinarians feel the suffering or misfortune relative to the humans (pet owners) emotional and mental state too.

Yelp! reviews that are one blocked shade have the same theme: lack of compassion for dogs & humans. And another says, do not take your dog to this urgent care center due to costs.

From my own miserable and horrible personal experience Dr. R.W. exuded zero empathy for my pretty Penny. She had no chance against the mindset of “Cash is King.” Death was just the reality for my dog.


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